Christmas Memories

Dear beautiful boys,

It’s been quite some time since I wrote a proper letter to you. So I thought I’d start 2017 with a letter about our Christmas memories of 2016. I know that you will each remember in your own special way but at just 5 and 2 year old memories will become hazy and fade with time. So here’s a letter all about our celebrations.

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The Countdown Begins

December started off as I always like it to start, a letter to Father Christmas ( I prefer to call him that, I know ‘Santa’ rolls of the tongue but to me he’s Father Christmas)

Christmas Memories

We walked together to the post box to post your carefully written letters. Well Thomas wrote one and Felix just scrawled a mark and I wrote some things for him.

Christmas memories

Then on the morning of December 1st you came down to find the advent gifts and the elf door.

I wrote a post back in 2014 about the door which can be found here.

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The elf door has returned year after year since then. This year it turned up right beside the fire place.


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You each had a chocolate advent calendar as well as an additional toy advent calendar. Thomas you got the Lego City one and Felix you had the Vtech toot toot one. As well as the calendars the Christmas Dvd’s arrived and a couple of books too. I don’t like to keep the Christmas Dvd’s out all year round or they don’t feel special.img_2044

Late Night Shopping

With the countdown to Christmas on I promised to take you late night shopping Thomas. As a child this was one of my favourite memories of Christmas. Unlike today there was no local huge shopping centre that was open all hours. Late night shopping meant a special trip to the local town (usually a Thursday night) when all the shops would be open late. In my childhood the coffee shop culture wasn’t the thing it is now either so there would be no coffee stop. Something which probably seems the norm to you two boys.

For me late night shopping at Christmas would mean dressing up warm and for a special treat getting the bus to the town and going in and out of the shops to look for Christmas presents. These days most of my things are bought online so even the actual ac of “shopping” seems like a treat even to me! So I took you shopping Thomas, but instead of a town we went to the Trafford Centre. I had a few bits to get so it seemed logical. It was a late night for you, way past your bedtime but you seemed to enjoy it non the less. I treated you to your first ever McFlurry too and I had a coffee. Of course being an ice cream fan you were impressed!

Christmas memories

I took you to chose a birthday and Christmas present for daddy. You chose some pyjamas and some socks. Typical Daddy presents!

Christmas School Play

On the 13th and 14th of December it was time for your school Christmas play Thomas. Although you are in year 1 now and this was your second year in school it was the first play you had done. In reception you were at a different school and they just did a songs show. I felt a bit swizzled, I only got to see you stand in an all black outfit and sing. Although it was lovely it just wasn’t the same as a ‘Christmas show’. So this year I sat (and stood as I was at the back) though your show. It was beautiful. You were a star this year and I could see that you did your very best to perform. I know you’d been practising at school for weeks so when the night finally came I was excited to watch it.

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I was so proud of you. Always remember that I love you so very much beautiful boy. My heart swelled with pride as you copied the dance moves and sung your heart out. Knowing all the words.

Well done little man and to all key stage 1, it was a fabulous show and a credit to you all.

Rotary Club Father Christmas

A few nights later the rotary club Father Christmas was due to visit our area. I think we peaked a little too soon and got a bit excited about this! We seemed to have to wait for what seemed like ages! I heard the music from the float about an hour before he got to our street, and sadly that night it was raining. But we were desperate not to miss him so ended up in and out of the house for about an hour to just keep looking! Finally it was our turn, and you both were very excited by his visit. You put your money in the collection box. Thats what I love about you Thomas you are very generous even when you don’t have much to give. Then you had photos and we went to bed. Late again but with happy hearts.

Christmas memories

I’m not sure you were to pleased to get too close Felix but you were excited by the lights and music!

Then it was time for mummies night out with work. The Saturday of my Christmas do had come and I am thankful that my lovely husband was there to look after you both whilst mummy got to go out and have some Christmas food and drinks with work friends. I loved it and felt great now that I’d lost 2 stone with Slimming World last year.

Christmas Memories

By now it was almost Christmas, not long until the big day but we still had school and work to get through!

On the 18th of December you and I Thomas made this gingerbread house together, well I say together. We were supposed to make it together but you were somewhat distracted by a film at the time. So I ploughed on through and this was the result. I was pretty proud of it considering it was the first time I’d put one together. Ok it was a kit but still, it stood up! And it looked pretty nice on the coffee station over the Christmas period too.

Christmas memories

Your school Thomas didn’t break up until the 22nd December so the countdown was short once school was out! Felix you were in nursery until the 23rd.

On Friday the 23rd I was still at work and so was daddy but you were off Thomas. Daddy was working from home but had a very important call to make in the morning so for the first time you came with me to work for just a couple of hours. You were so good and sat in the office whilst I got on with the job. Everyone loved seeing you and said how good you were. For you it was a treat to be in work with mummy and you took the responsibility of being the recycling bin manager very carefully. People in our office were having a nice Christmas tidy up and were giving you paper waste to put into the slot in the bin which you loved.

Christmas memories

Daddy picked you up by 11 and I was able to finish the day off and get the job done. Making sure everything was ok before I left for Christmas. I am so lucky that I didn’t have to work over the Christmas period so got 4 days off before I had to go back.

We were also lucky that Christmas fell on a Sunday so Christmas eve was a Saturday. Lots of time to get festive and prepare for the big day to come.

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve morning another tradition. The arrival of the Christmas eve box and the disappearance of the elf.

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Theres always new pjs, a film, some chocolate, some fun things to do and the reindeer food.

During the day we spent most of the time just hanging around, playing and preparing. Daddy and I did as much as we could to get the meal prepared ahead of time so that we could spend Christmas morning with you both and not in the kitchen. I laid the table and prepared the conservatory for the big day. This year we had moved the table to the conservatory to make room for more play in the house.

Christmas memories

It works well because we are lucky enough to have a table in the kitchen to eat on for everyday meals. By 4pm we all went to church for the crib service.

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Christmas Eve – The Evening

On our return we had our traditional Christmas eve buffet. Just the four of us. We watched Muppets Christmas carol and drank hot chocolate. I have always watched muppets Christmas carol on Christmas eve for as long as I can remember. Since my mum bought the VHS (you’ll have to google that boys to find out what it is!) we have always watched it on Christmas eve, something I will continue with you boys too. Of course now we have it on streaming so no actual physical disk or video required! Despite that I still only get the dvd out on christmas eve.

Bedtime

So with new pjs on and hearts full of excitement it was time to scatter the reindeer food and go up to bed!

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Mince pie, milk and carrot left out and up you went!

You probably have realised boys how much I love Christmas. My heart is aching just writing this, sad that it’s all over for another year. I already miss the excitement and the anticipation.

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Christmas Day

The day, this was it, the much anticipated day was here!!

We woke up before you as you’d both been having late nights and had got into a later morning routine which was nice.

Thomas you were up first to discover the stocking on your door. You raced into us to wake us up (we were already awake!). The Felix you were up not long after. We all got quickly dressed (also a tradition, which is weird as any other weekend we’d be downstairs in pjs!) and went down for breakfast. On the way down you discover the Father Christmas had wrapped the living room door too as a surprise! How funny!

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Breakfast

Christmas breakfast is always a treat. Usually its smoked salmon but this year we were going to have pancake stacks. Trying to relive our american trip I think! I had also bought pop tarts for you two. I know they are incredibly bad for you and so full of rubbish but it was a special day!

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We sat at the table and unwrapped the stockings, you both loved it. I had (and still do) have a heart full of happiness. I love seeing the magic in your faces.

The Morning

After a lovely breakfast it was time for the main event, the presents! Now I didn’t take lots of picture at this point because we were just enjoying being together and opening some gifts. You both loved the what you had received. Thomas your main present was Lego Dimensions, which you were so happy with. And Felix your main gift was the Vtech Toot toot friends house. You love playing with people and houses so that was a hit!

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One of the other presents that you loved Thomas was the Usborne Maze Book. I can’t recommend this enough for children who love to do mazes. It’s  full of different kinds of finger mazes to do, which kept him occupied for ages and still does!

Not long after we done most of the presents my parents arrived, they were coming for dinner. We all opened some more presents and then hubby and I got on with cooking some dinner (well mainly he cooked and I helped a bit!)

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Christmas Dinner

I opened some lovely Prosecco for dinner, theres on me who drinks in our house. my dad had a glass too but my mum was driving so didn’t have any.img_2715

Even here as we start dinner you can see the maze book is still bing intently studied!

Dinner was lovely, cooked mainly by daddy the chef. Everyone enjoyed it and it was a reall family time.

Felix your choice of food didn’t surprise anyone…

 Just 6 pigs in blankets for you! You love your sausages! I love that you nearly lined them up too. Although you are speaking loads Felix you still call them ‘dosages’ which is just so cute!

After dinner we had some coffee and a play with all the new toys. All too soon it was time for your Grandparents to leave. With full tummies and tired but happy we all headed to bed. That was it Christmas day over for another year. It had been an amazing day and w are so lucky to have such lovely people and things in our lives.

Today is the first day of a new year. A new year always bring such promise. Such amazing new beginnings. Each year I like billions of other make new years resolutions. Resolutions that start out so meaningful. Resolutions that often get broken within a month or two. So of course I couldn’t really break my traditions of making new resolutions. I just figure I’ll write them down so I’m more accountable to someone, if only myself!

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My 2017 Resolutions

  1. Lose weight – I know everyone probably has this on their list. Last year I attended slimming world and managed to lose 2 stone. It was 2 stone of baby weight that really needed to go. Flixster was turning 2 and it was time. I drifted away from slimming world after we came back from Florida and that was my mistake. I know I’ve gained a little weight back. Thankfully no where near all of it but I have decided to go back this year and rejoin. The food optimising plan really suits me so I’m going to rejoin. I’d love to get back to what I weighed when I got married but I’ve got a long way to go. I haven’t decided if I’m going to blog about it yet as weight bothers me so I’m not sure.
  2. Have more fun – This one involves finding more time. Or more accurately trying to make better use of my time. I want to be able to have more fun with the children. I want to be able to just play with them when they ask me too. Just being able to put down what I’m doing and play. Be like a child again. Be there for them.
  3. Pay off the debts. We don’t have a lot of debt but with husband being out of work for a while and moving house things have started to mount up a little. At the moment they are manageable but I just want to be debt free. So for this I need to work hard and focus on where our money is going and direct it to the right place.
  4. Be more organised – This includes all areas of my life. I need to be more organised with food and meal planning for the family. I need to be more organised at work and be more prepared for things happening. I’d like to write more, so I need to schedule in the time properly for that.
  5. Do more exercise – Yes another one on most peoples lists. I have learned from previous years that I need to start small with this one. If I go in all guns blazing and make promises I can’t keep I fail. So for this one I’m just going to aim for at least one serious exercise session a week, but more would be great.

Being accountable

So I’ve kept it simple with 5 resolutions. Lets hope that 2017 brings me the motivation and time to stick to them. At least they are written down now! I need to regularly revisit them and make sure my motivations are still in place.

 

 

Last week I went on my final Christmas shopping trip to the actual shops. It’s an annual thing for my mum and I to go to the Intu Trafford Centre together to go and see all the lights and festive windows and decorations.

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We often eat out at Wagamama and I’ve written about before so was delighted when they asked me to come along and try their new delicious dishes, some amazing sounding steam bun based side dishes.

Steamed Buns at Wagamama

They are called ‘Hirata Buns’ which are a popular Asian street food. Wagamama has seen an increase in demand for the steamed bun side and so to change things up a bit there are now four different steamed buns to try. The two that we picked were mixed mushroom and aubergine as well as tori kara age and fresh tomato. The first were described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.

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They were nice and I would have them again but by far my favourite were the other ones. Those we described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with tori kara age and fresh tomato. Served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.

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I love the freshness of the tomato with the tori kara age, it seemed to go well together. The sweetness of the steamed buns was also a perfect combination. I would warn you though that they are filling so if I had them again I’d combine it with a different side for variety. Although thankfully on this occasion the boys weren’t with us or I’d would of probably not got a look in. I think they would love the steamed bun range!

No trip to Wagamama for me would be complete without a classic Yaki Udon. It is my absolute favourite item on the Wagamama menu. So tasty and filling and alway freshly prepared.

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Alongside the food I usually choose a fresh juice. This trip I asked the waiter for his recommendation and he suggested a  positive juice. Which was pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. He was right it was delicious!

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As always we came away feeling satisfied and knowing we’d eaten great food freshly prepared to order. If you’re looking for somewhere to share a family meal over the festive season then I’d suggest you find a Wagamama. I can’t imagine it will be long before we go back again. We really enjoyed the steamed buns and some lovely fresh food.

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Thanks to Wagamama for inviting us to try the new ranges.

Well it might only be a few weeks to Christmas now but we are already looking forward to next years Geronimo festival!

Geronimo festival 2017 is set to be the best one yet! It’s at an all new venue too!

In 2017 Geronimo is moving to the wonderful Arley Hall venue, not only that Geronimo is now offering clamping and camping options too.  It’s going to truest be the Glastonbury for kids!

With a whole new day added, so now its running for 3 days instead of 2.

The event remains focussed on quality family time together and encourages families to play learn and have fun!

We can’t wait to go, you can read about last years adventures here.

The tickets are available now at a reduced rate and you can get yours here. It would make an ideal Christmas gift for families with children!

We can not wait for Geronimo 2017, it really is going to be the even of the summer not to be missed!

 

 

Winter Wonderland 2016 – EventCity

If you’ve ever dreamed of an indoor Christmas themed fun park then look no further than Winter Wonderland at Eventcity. Event city is next door to the Trafford Centre. There are rides, shows and fun galore to be had when you walk through the doors of this very special Christmas treat!

Last year we had so much fun the boys didn’t want to leave and we can’t wait to go again! In addition to the rides there are bouncy castles and slides a plenty.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland 2016 runs from 10th December 2016 to 1st January 2017. It is all indoors at Eventcity right next to the Trafford Centre. With loads of free parking available you’re sure to have a fab time. Each session lasts 4 hours and includes all rides. Also the Basil Brush Show, the Cinderella Mini Panto, the Christmas Circus and a Meet & Greet with the big man himself! Of course the sessions after the 24th December don’t include Santa as he’ll be off having a very well deserved rest!

Winter wonderland

Winter Wonderland

 

New shows for 2016

As well as the rides, there will be a dazzling array of colourful shows. Including an exciting new addition for 2016 – Christmas pantomime – Cinderella! There will also be a brand-new Sci-Fi show, a Christmas circus, Pip Ahoy! from Channel 5’s Milkshake and a chance to meet the nation’s favourite fox – Basil Brush! Santa Claus is inviting all the children to come and visit him! Children will be enchanted by the Ice Princesses, Fairies and Elves who love to play and chat and have ‘s-elfies’ with the children.
There will also be a whole host of games stalls and a vast array of food and drinks stalls to purchase.R Refreshments including hot snacks and sweet treats.

We have been kindly offered a family ticket to give away for Winter Wonderland for use on the evening of December 12th – this session starts at 6:30pm.

 

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Terms and Conditions

The prize is for  a family ticket for Winter Wonderland (2 adults and 2 children). For use on the night of December 12th at 6:30pm only. There is no cash alternative.

As part of a year long celebration of Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday Tatton Park is rounding off the celebrations and saving the best until last with it’s Christmas spectacular! To help get the celebrations off to a great start we are giving away one family ticket to Tatton Park which admits two adults and up to 3 children. See the bottom of the post for entry details.

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This festive season, experience Christmas in the most magical way as Tatton Park’s Mansion takes inspiration from Roald Dahl’s greatest stories. For a limited time only from Monday 21 November, enter a festive world where his extraordinary story telling weaves itself through the grand staterooms and in to the bustling servants’ quarters.

As part of a year-long programme of events to celebrate 100 years since the beloved author’s birth, visitors will be able to access over 13 different rooms in the Mansion – with each room being inspired by a different Roald Dahl tale.

tattoo park mansion

Step inside the grand entrance and enter the purple and gold-coloured world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Inside the yellow drawing room, The Witches take over – with a large bubbling cauldron and a broomstick tree. Listen out and you might hear a very special witches themed Christmas carol.

Mr Fox and all of his woodland friends are feasting in the dining room – expect a Christmas dinner scene like no other! Visitors can accompany The BFG as he visits Buckingham Palace in the drawing and music rooms – and meet bookworm Matilda in the library (and watch out for the dreaded Chokey in the Housekeeper’s room).

The Twits, Danny The Champion of the World and George’s Marvellous Medicine also have their own special areas – and woven throughout the Mansion is ‘Ode to Mother Christmas,’ a poem composed by Dahl in 1988 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Visitors can also enjoy the Roald Dahl Biography and front covers from around the world displays in the exhibition room, live festive music and family activities. Tatton staff inspired by Roald Dahl’s Mother Christmas will be on hand to give out treats and delicacies including a festive treat for all to try.

Tatton is working with three different design agencies, Springbank, Joseph Massie and Flyby to create this magical transformation.

Carolyn Latham, Tatton Park Mansion and Collections Manager, says: “We’re so very excited about this year’s Christmas attraction. The Roald Dahl theme has given us so much to explore and we were spoilt for choice when it came to selecting the scenes.

“From the Mr Fox family seated around a table enjoying the Christmas feast to an oversized BFG wearing a Christmas hat and slippers (which visitors can walk underneath), it will be an adventure of discovery with plenty of surprises around the corner.”

The Christmas Mansion will be open from 11am until 4pm (last entry 3pm) on the following dates:
Monday 21 November – Sunday 4 December
Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December
Friday 16 – Sunday 18 December

Tickets for the Christmas are priced at £9.50 for adults and £5.50 for children (exclusive of car entry, priced at £6). Price also applies to NT members.
For more information visit, www.tattonpark.org.uk/Christmas

More Festive Fun at Tatton Park

In addition to Roald Dahl’s Gloriumptious Mansion, there are lots of other festive goings-on for all the family at Tatton Park:

Lantern Parade

On Friday 25 November a charming lantern parade will make its way through the park to welcome Father Christmas as he arrives at Tatton Park with his elves. Visitors can buy a lovely lantern on the night or bring their own, to guide Father Christmas, his reindeer and sleigh. The shops and restaurants will be open to guests and children can post their Christmas lists in a special post box. Free car entry after 5pm. Lantern Parade at 6.30pm

Father Christmas at the Farm

Father Christmas and his reindeer will be spending weekends down at the Farm with all his farmyard friends. You will get chance to meet two of his real reindeers Prancer and Dancer who are in training ready for the big night on Christmas Eve. There is a real nativity with resident donkeys Frosty and Huw, live music and Christmas storytelling each day. There is also Aunty Mary by the fireside in the cottage making salt dough decorations for you to take home. There will be children’s entertainers, face painting and not forgetting the hugely popular Reindeer trail, so join us for all the festive fun on the Farm.
All children will receive a gift from Santa to take home.
Father Christmas at the farm is open from 11am until 4pm ( last entry 3pm) on Nov 26 & 27, Dec, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18. Adult and child tickets £6 (including your gift), car entry £6. Price also applies to NT members.

Stableyard Carols

The festive Stableyard will be welcoming Kind Edward’s Musical Society and Choir on Sunday 18 December at 3pm. Guests are invited to sing their favourite carols with friends and family and enjoy warming winter treats in the restaurant.

Christmas Shopping Weekend

For those in search of a Christmas market, a wide range of artisan suppliers offering special gifts, stocking fillers and festive essentials, will be onsite on Friday 25 November (11.30am until 6pm), Saturday 26, and Sunday 27 November (10am until 4pm). Free admission in the Tenant’s Hall.

Christmas Dining

The Stables restaurant and the Gardener’s Cottage will be calling in the best locally sourced ingredients, including products reared at Tatton Park, to bring a fine selection of homemade festive food and drink. Pre-booking is recommended and can be done via gardenerscottage@cheshireeast.gov.uk.
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Terms and conditions:

The prize is one family ticket admission to Tatton Park including admission to the mansion, farm and gardens. The ticket covers two adults and up to three children. There is no cash alternative.

Tonight it’s Halloween and to some children this only means one thing -Trick or Treat!

trick or treat

When I was a child we weren’t allowed to go knocking on doors for Halloween to ‘Trick or Treat’. There was one year when I was very young (around 5) that my mum held a Halloween party for my brother and I and some of our friends (and parents). I remember that one year we were allowed to go to the neighbours on each side to say ‘Trick or Treat’ as my mum had already given them sweets to give to us. All other years though it was a no.

Dreading Halloween

Each year during my childhood I would dread Halloween, more specifically I’d dread anyone knocking on to our house to Trick or Treat because my dad would get in a bad mood . He hated it, he just doesn’t agree with it. My mum would try and make it nice for us by making a lovely dinner of witches brew (which was soup and bread) Consequently when I got my own home, hubby and I would always avoid Halloween by going out for dinner or to the cinema. I didn’t like the thought of horrible children knocking on to disturb us. Asking essentially for us to give them something. I couldn’t understand people who liked Halloween and who looked forward to Trick or Treat children to come round.

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Changing my View

Over the years as I have grown up Halloween has become much more of a thing. More people decorate their homes, and enjoy the night. Children seem more enthusiastic about it, and enjoy celebrating.For them it’s exciting. I’ve also been very lucky to celebrate Halloween in Walt Disney World a couple of times. Over in America, essentially Halloween is fun for most people. People make an effort to take part and enjoy the night itself.

Since having children things have changed. I’ve had to stay at home for Halloween. No late night trips to the cinema! Or staying out at the pub having  a relaxing meal with a glass of wine (I don’t think I’d done that in a long time!) I’ve discovered that it can be fun. When the doorbell goes the our boys go out to see who’s there, we have a bowl of sweets ready and waiting to offer the Trick or Treaters. We admire the costumes and offer out a treat to each person. Thankfully although I know it can happen we have never had a bad experience. Everyone who has ever knocked on the door has been pleasant and polite.

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Trick or Treat Rules

Last year and the year before we took the boys out ourselves to Trick or Treat but we ALWAYS stick to these rules:

  1. Only go to houses with Halloween decorations up. Either full decorations which can be seen or an indication they are taking part in Halloween i.e. a pumpkin. I never let the children go to houses with nothing out.
  2. Only knock or ring once, if no one answers then we move on.
  3. Be polite. We say Trick or Treat and see what happens, if offered a treat then the children must say Thank you. If the thank you’s stop then we go straight home!
  4. The children stay within sight of a grown up at all times. I let them go up a path whilst I wait at the bottom but they must always stay with me.
  5. Always respect other peoples property. We only use the paths to get to a door and never walk over a garden to get in or out.
  6. Go out dressed up in costumes not just a token effort, after all it is a tradition to dress up!

If everyone stuck to these rules then the night could be made fun for those who want to take part. For those who don’t or are scared then the night would no longer be a worry. Only going to decorated houses is the main rule for my boys. If a house has decorations up then I’d say they are taking part and are happy to have Trick or Treaters at the door.

Taking Part – Having Fun

I know this time of year can be worrying or frightening or annoying for many people and I want to let them know that we for one won’t be bothering them tonight by knocking on their doors. I hope this reassures them too that not all Trick or Treaters are a nuisance and the night can be fun for some people who want to take part.

trick or treat

 

my sunday photo

My Sunday Photo – Climbing Higher

This week I’ve looked through the photographs I’ve taken and it took a while to chose. It’s been half term here and it hasn’t exactly gone to plan. My youngest son (2) has been ill all week. So all the things I had planned for myself and the eldest (5) to do together as a treat while youngest was at nursery had to either be cancelled or replanned. Thanks to family and hubby we have managed to juggle childcare. Although I did have to take carers leave form work on Wednesday (which I felt so bad about since it was my only day in this week)
On Friday we booked to go to the local leisure centre and have a go at climbing. The leisure centre has recently been refurbished. It has new added feature such as the climbing walls, a BMX park and a soft play area. This is the first time we’ve been climbing here and the boys first time ever trying climbing. The session runs for an hour and you just pick and chose which walls to try, the instructor clips you on and away you go. When you’ve finished the wall you just let go and walk back down whilst the automatic harness does the trick of taking your weight. I absolutely loved it! Although my arms are aching really badly today, with muscle I never even knew I had!
As well as the walls there is a set of poles that reach 5m in height to climb up and jump off. I love that childrens fear gauges are on a different level to ours. The boy had no trouble in doing this several times! I go to 2m and couldn’t go any further (I am 1.85m tall so honestly that seems wimpish!) Looking back now though I want to go back and try again. I won’t let a set of poles beat me!
OneDad3Girls

Belles Tea Party Cart

This week we were kindly sent a new toy for the boys to test. For those of you who have read my posts before you’ll know I don’t believe in gender specific toys. Belles tea party cart could potentially fall into the toys for girls category but I think my boys have proved that to be wrong!

belles tea cart

This summer we were very lucky to spend time at Walt Disney World. In the run up to our holiday we watched lots of family Disney films. Since Flixster has been little he’s had the nickname chip (given to him by the nursery ladies who said he was cute!) They have never seen his menacing side he he! But he knows who chip is, and he knows the famous song from Beauty and the Beast – Be Our Guest. We were also lucky enough to eat in the beasts castle dining room whilst we were away. So the boys are very familiar with Belle, Mrs Potts and Chip.

Belle Tea Party Cart

The Toy – A Tour

The cart comes boxed and not built however it is really easy to put together, you don’t need any tools, it simply clicks into place. If this is to be a Christmas gift it might be worth setting up first then wrapping as there are some cable ties that need cutting in the package and I know how frustrating it can be on Christmas day to be doing these. In addition to the trolley, Belles Tea Party Cart comes with two teacups (one of which is Chip) Mrs Potts ( the teapot), two spoons and an invitation.

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The teapot and teacups fit onto the inner pink circle on the top of the cart. Flixster was obsessed about putting the teapot, cups and spoon on the bottom level of the trolley. I have no idea why, but as you’ll see in most of the photos I took during play those items are on the bottom!

belles tea cart

Once we’d put it together the boys were away with it. Especially Flixster (who’s 2) he absolutely loved it. Most of all he loved that when you press the button on the front of the cart the teapot and teacups spin round whilst the ‘Be Our Guest Song’ plays. As a result of him discovering this we have heard it many many times since! I think the song being played whilst the teapot spins was his favourite feature of Belles Tea Cart. The cart comes with batteries already installed. Be sure to flick the switch underneath to play the full song not just the demo.

belles tea cart

 

Playtime

The tea cart was just the right height for him to push around the room and serve everyone tea. The detail on Belles Tea Party Cart is most noteworthy. The stickers which come already attached to the cart (thank goodness as I can never ever get them straight) picture the characters from Beauty and the Beast.

belles tea cart belles tea party cart

Toy Test Verdict

We’ve had the cart a little over a week now and it’s been played with every day by Flixster. He absolutely loves it! I’d say this toy test was an absolute hit. I’ve enjoyed watching him use the cart and his imagination to serve tea many times over. He loved pretending to drink and serve everyone else.

belles tea party cart belles tea party cart

(See the teapot and cups underneath!)

 

He ever wanted to take chip to bed the other night, I’m not sure he’d make a good cuddle companion though!

Belles Tea Party Cart can be purchased from a variety of retailers in the UK and would make a fabulous gift for any Beauty and the Beast fan.

 

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This week I’ve chosen a photograph that means a lot to us. During the past year its been tough but we’ve always focused on what we do have and not what we don’t and been grateful. With a massive house move, one we hoped and dreamed of for so long hanging on a knife edge then eventually happening (thank you universe) followed by a longer than expected period of redundancy its fair to say we’ve been though some quite stressful events. Before we moved one of our aims was to have a place in our new home to have a special Saturday breakfast together. The rest of the week we spend rushing around not eating as a family at breakfast because of work and other commitments. Yesterday we shared pastries (I know they are not very slimming world friendly but it was a treat!) and drank lovely coffee and had a simple family breakfast. It was bliss and I’m very grateful for the memory.
OneDad3Girls